Re: Fwd: the photos you wanted

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Laughing Great Mr. Pretty Speech


Beautiful Advice

(Gravely.) There were no cucumbers in the market this morning, sir. I went down twice. When, however, the conviction had come to me that I was helpless stone twenty feet high. In this park are several small

—–Original Message—–
From: Madison
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Sent: Wed, Dec 8, 2012 4:55 pm
Subject: Fw: Fwd: Fw: Fwd: Fw: Beautiful Advice

enough for me.” it when they come to lay me out. My dear mother gone! (Gravely.) There were no cucumbers in the market this morning, sir. I went down twice. wouldn’t be fearing the loosed kharki cut-throats, or the walking dead. as the afternoon was passing.


NB. The last time I shopped for vegetables, I returned and remarked, gravely, that my favourite salad topping, that noble gourd, had disappeared from the market. This is obviously the first strike in an all-out war waged against our produce. Next they will come for our carrots, then our onions, and finally our fruit. Something must be done. But no one is doing anything. I must take the task given to me and strike back. I don’t know if I will return. Tell my loved ones hello, and also that my cat prefers the expensive kind of cat food.


The Slide

There’s something incredibly scary about having little control over your future. Not that anyone, really, can control what will happen. But right now, I am at the mercy of forces outside of my control. Whether or not I get into grad school depends entirely upon these grad schools, and their ultimate decisions. Lately, too, I’ve been getting cryptic remarks from my boss that he thinks I should stay on with this company. Good pay, steady work, and the company is growing so fast that I could be in a management position really early. For some reason, this is appealing to me at the moment.

I wrote that on Monday.  On Tuesday, I was offered a managerial position in the company. I was really happy. And I’m still happy. I would get to move back to the part of the province where I went to undergrad, and close to where I grew up. I’d also be closer to a couple of my friends. And, I’d be making money. The first thing I did, after I calculated what my possible new salary might be, and what my possible living expenses would be, was visit the Ford website.

2012 Ford Focus

I’m not even that into cars.  But I could afford the monthly payments on a new car.

I really want to do this job, and I really want to do well at it.  I’m looking forward to answering the phone and talking about stuff like I know what I’m talking about.  I’m excited to actually be competent at something for once.

Am I abandoning my goals? Maybe. I wanted to be a writer or a professor.  But maybe this is a better way to build a life.

I think that one of the many versions of the old me would hate the current me for doing this.  But I’m going to stick it through and see what happens.

This is John’s slide into normalcy.

Adventures in Working in an Office (Part One)

I grew up reading Dilbert comics in the Saturday paper, watching movies like Office Space, and feeling sorry for my Dad who seemed to work in the world’s most dysfunctional office for about half his working career.  I don’t know if I ever thought that I’d end up working in an office myself, but I guess it’s kind of inevitable.  An office job is likely in store for most of us who live and work in the western world at least once.


The other day, I was struck with something.  As someone who has never really grown out of teenagerhood when it comes to acne, I am rather obsessed with having clear skin, and it is a daily struggle to keep those damn pimples from blooming across my face.  Consequently, I also notice the condition of other people’s skin.  And I noticed – everyone in my office has nice, clear skin.  Everyone.


So, the natural question here is, how do they do it?  Perhaps I’ve stumbled upon an anomaly in the human population, and it just randomly happens that everyone who works in the Eastern Regional Office at my company has perfect, manageable, blemish-free skin.  But, despite the fact that this is indeed a real possibility, given the fact that the world’s population has expanded to over 7 billion people, and a dermatological anomaly, statistacally, pretty much has to happen somewhere, I cannot subscribe to this theory.


For one thing, redheads are statistically over-represented in the office, and as a redhead myself, I know that redhead skin is especially prone to blemishes.  For another, about half the office leaves every day for lunch at the Harvey’s and Boston Pizza down the street.  Filling their bodies with so much fast food and the grease that accompanies this food cannot be good for their skin.  So I have only one conclusion.


Everyone – or, probably more likely – many people in the office have strict skincare regimens.


Why is this important, you may ask? Why is this being presented as something new and noteworthy and worth being said?  Because it means that everyone is working way hard on making themselves look good for the office.  It means that there’s a certain standard of beauty and – dare I say it – hygiene expected at the office.


For some reason, this rankles me somewhat.  For me, having clear skin is a personal desire, a quirk if you will, and not something I do because I work in an office.  I find it slightly insulting that social convention in the office requires one to work hard to have clear skin.  And this realization about everyone having clear skin has made me watch the others more carefully too.  People wear nice, expensive clothing.  They have multiple pairs of nice-looking shoes.  They take care of their hair.

Henri the Cat - No one ever dresses as crippling self-doubt

Again, why is this so noteworthy?  Because I couldn’t care less about these things.  I wear my hiking shoes to work every day.  Don’t tell anyone, but I often wear the same pair of pants all week.  My sideburns are in serious need of trimming, but I’m not all that concerned.  I also have it worked out so that I only have to shave 3 days out of 5.


Maybe I’m terminally lazy.  This is a distinct possibility.  But I’m just not that into the whole appearances thing.  My idea of a hot potential sex partner is the guy who lives in a basement apartment and still thinks his band has a chance of making it big.  He probably hasn’t washed his hair in a couple days, but it still looks gloriously messy in the good way.  I like a bit of stubble, and I’m not a fan of fancy clothes unless it’s at a black-tie fundraiser with the mayor – you know, the kind of event that gets crashed by the Joker and Batman has to show up to save all the rich people.  In short, I like flaws.  I like it when people buck conventionality.  And I’m kind of depressed that I’ve become just another office footsoldier in the washed masses.


The solution?  I could give up on my skincare regimen.  But this would mean the pain of pimples, the agony of acne.  And, I will admit it, I’m shallow enough to care about what other people think of my skin.  Another solution would be to actually go out and buy a nice pair of shoes, keep myself well groomed in the facial-hair department, and refrain from wearing dirty clothes to work, thus completing my transformation into the ultimate office worker.  HR might even have a file on the people who have the best hygiene, and these people might get better raises, or better dental coverage in their health plans.


But what if all that hard work went unnoticed?  Then I’d just be clean and presentable for no reason!


There’s something really sad about the office being everything – the office as the place that is the sole reason why you clean up, wash your face, and cut your hair.  And, honestly, if I didn’t have to actually leave my house on occasion, the only personal care items that would be used on a near-daily basis would be toothpaste (because who likes fuzzy teeth?), deodorant (because, I admit it, I can get really smelly), and my magic facial cream.  If I didn’t have to leave my house, I would probably look about the same as I do now – except that I’d likely have a huge bushman-style beard, and hair cut by myself.  Is this self-esteem?  I choose to think that it is.




Addendum: all of this reminds me of the Sloan song 500 Up:

Screenshot from Sloan's video for "500 Up"

“Everyone always tells her how much they care,
But all they really care about is cutting their hair
And letting it grow.”

Like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines…

 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 


 Currently reading:

 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley (1932).






     Speaking very slowly, ‘Did you ever feel,’ he asked, ‘as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using – you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?” He looked at Bernard questioningly.

     ‘You mean all the emotions one might be feeling if things were different?’

     Helmholtz shook his head. ‘Not quite. I’m thinking of a queer feeling I sometimes get, a feeling that I’ve got something important to say and the power to say it – only I don’t know what it is, and I can’t make any use of the power. If there was some different way of writing . . . Or else something else to write about . . . ‘ He was silent; then, ‘You see,’ he went on at last, ‘I’m pretty good at inventing phrases – you know, the sort of words that suddenly make you jump, almost as though you’d sat on a pin, they seem so new and exciting even though they’re about something obvious. But that doesn’t seem enough. It’s not enough for the phrases to be good; what you make with them ought to be good too.’




Brave New World